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5 Top Cars at the New York Auto Show

Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee, being unveiled Wednesday, represents Chrysler's effort to use a famous name from the past to replace the Jeep Liberty, which has underperformed in the critical compact crossover segment, where competition in intense.

The segment is the industry's second largest, trailing only the mid-size sedan segment, and is led by Honda's CRV and Ford's Escape. Other entrants include Toyota's Rav4 and GM's Chevrolet Equinox. Are more players needed?

"Jeep Cherokee represents a real opportunity for Jeep and Chrysler to make some inroads a strong, growing segment," Nerad said. "The segment continues to do well, in good economies and bad. Jeep hasn't been a big player in the segment, but it probably should be. It certainly has the brand cachet to capture that segment: it just hasn't had a road-ready product."

Said Lindland, "Jeep Cherokee AKA Liberty is totally different than the Liberty that's out there now. It will be very interesting to see consumer reaction, because it's a much softer crossover. It may not be as Jeep-like as people want it to be: it evokes images of the Rav4." It will be assembled at the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.
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